Historically, knotting between each bead was the standard for pearl necklaces. It ensures that even if your necklace breaks, you’ll only lose one or two beads, not all of them. The knots between also make for a necklace that drapes well and moves freely. Without the knots gravity pulls the beads together tightly, and the resulting necklace can seem kind of rigid and weird. Another massive benefit to this method is that it’s easy to make a necklace that’s an endless loop, no clasp required. There are a whole lot of people in this world with varying degrees of metal allergy/irritation who are always looking for metal free alternatives. Endless loop beaded necklaces are a total wardrobe basic, so make yourself a handful of these easy to wear layering necklaces.
– beads with large-ish holes
– string that fits through the beads (and though at least a few of them twice), I’m using #10 cotton crochet thread, waxed cotton and silk are both classic choices
– an awl, a tapestry needle, or some other smooth pointy thing to help with the knotting
– super glue, fabric glue, jeweler’s cement, or some other clear glue that works with the string you’re using
Make sure you have enough beads for at least 26 inches | 66 cm of necklace, anything shorter will be very difficult or impossible to get over your head!
Plan the order of your beads. Use some glue to stiffen the end of your string. Don’t cut the string from the spool. Start by stringing the beads that have the largest holes and/or the beads that most closely match your string color.
When all of your beads are strung, tie an overhand knot about 8 inches | 20 cm from the end of your string and slide one bead up to it. You may have to double knot your string depending on how close it is to the size of the bead hole. I used two knots almost everywhere, and three knots next to a couple of beads with oversized holes.
Tie a knot after your first bead. This is a little tricky at first, but you’ll catch on.
Use a tapestry needle or some other pointy thing to help slide the knot up tight to the bead and carefully tighten it into place while sliding the needle out.
You should have a knot up close to the end bead on both sides.
Slide up the next bead and knot after it.
You might need a few beads to get the rhythm of knot tying down. If you make some clunky knots at first it’s easy enough to cut off the bummer area, re-string those beads, and start over with the knotting. All you’ll lose is a few inches of string!
To make it easy to get your knot where you want it make a loop behind the bead you just slid up.
Draw the tail through that loop and all of the knotted beads + the one you’re about to knot.
That will place the knot in the right place to tighten it into place. This knotted area will get longer and longer until you reach the end. Handle it carefully to avoid scuffing up your new necklace before you’ve even worn it.
Knot until you have a few beads left untied (I left 6, but you might want to leave fewer if it is difficult to get your string through a second time.)
Slide the tip of the sting through the last bead to form a loop (you might have to re-stiffen it.)
Pull the two ends of string up to close the necklace into a loop.
Tie a knot between the end bead and the one next to it. (I’ve slid the beads apart a bit for clarity but you should try to keep them relatively close together.)
Slide the end of the string through the next bead.
Tie between as before.
Repeat the knot between process until you have a knot between every bead.
This is very important! Your necklace isn’t secure yet. Cut the string form the ball and leave enough tail to knot a few times. Tie this tail between the first and last bead you strung.
If you can get it through, slide that string through the first bead and tie on the other side of it as well.
Put drops of glue on each of the knots in the overlap section. Let it dry thoroughly and then snip off the tails.